Awaken the Wonder

My husband and I, along with two of our closest friends traveled to Atlanta, GA to attend Catalyst conference last week. We had an amazing time worshiping our amazing God, as well as gleaning wisdom from some of the top leaders in the Christian and business world. The theme of the conference was Awaken The Wonder. Basically implying that we have lost our child like wonder, and God wants to restore that in each of us.


Here are my takeaways.

Andy Stanley:

  • Wonder is essential for growth
  • Wonder is always disruptive and different
  • Human nature is to resist what we don’t understand or control
  • If you allow wonder to shut down in you, you will shut it down in everyone else
  • Keeping wonder awake in you, awakens wonder in the next generation
  • Ask how not why
  • Add imagine to every idea (i.e.: Imagine what the world would be like if we stopped arguing about petty things, and joined forces to combat the evil in the world)

Dr. Brene Brown:

  • Recognize when triggered with emotions
  • We are better at hurting people, than staying in the hurt in order to get clarity
  • Having a high capacity for discomfort is a characteristic of a leader
  • When you own your story, you get to write the ending

Scott Harrison:

  • Statistics don’t move people. Stories do

Trip Lee:

  • There has never been a more loving act of deliverance than Jesus dying on the cross, and that deserves our praise
  • The songs I have written from pain and grief are the ones which have connected with people the most
  • We do not have a God who is too weak to deal with our pain and brokenness. In fact, He told us to bring it to Him
  • What is sinful about groaning and complaining is when you put God’s character on trial

Margaret Feinberg:

  • Rejoice when it makes no sense
  • Remain suspicious, God is up to something good
  • When we search for the goodness of God in every nook and cranny of our lives, we will find it
  • When you praise, you’re proclaiming to the darkness that it will not win

Erwin McManus:

  • You have believed a lie that there is an elite group of individuals who create and the rest of us that we are created to admire them
  • We are living a life beneath our intention. We are the only species who can live beneath our intention (Say what?!)
  • You were an idea in the mind of God before you were a fetus in the body of your mother
  • God materializes the invisible and turns it into the visible
  • You are living inside a dream someone had before you ever took a breath (He gave the example of Martin Luther King’s ‘I have a dream’ speech)
  • The source of all beauty, all creativity and all wonder is the God who created us
  • God is not an imaginary friend but someone who lives in my imagination. He created my imagination (Whattt?!!!)
  • I see a future where the church becomes the epicenter of all creative beauty, truth, and light

(I must say that he rocked my theology in a very good way)

Louie Giglio:

  • The Psalmist did not say, be still and feel that I am God, he said Be still and know that I am God
  • Be less focused on your deficiencies and more focused on Christ’s sufficiency
  • God wants to show us a Northern Lights kind of wonder. No lava lamp needed

(There were way more incredible points from Louie, but I cried more than half of his talk, so I didn’t take more notes)

Jeremy Cowart:

  • If you’re alive, if you’re breathing, we need what you can bring to the world

Christine Caine:

  • We need a generation of Christians who will rise up in faith and know that God will do what He said He will do
  • Our primary responsibility this side of Heaven is to lead people to Jesus. Therefore, we are all leaders
  • You will influence how other people see God
  • If being saved doesn’t get your awe up I don’t know what is. If you’re not going to hell today doesn’t get your awe up I don’t know what will. I’m still one of those people that believes there is one
  • The fact you’re saved is a miracle
  • Do not limit God’s power by the size of your giant
  • You ask God for signs and wonders, but you don’t put yourself in situations where He can show up (What?!)
  • Impossible is where God starts

Chris Brown:

  • Often worry trumps wonder
  • Oftentimes wonder gets choked out by familiarity. It also gets choked out by distraction
  • Gratitude is the key that unlocks wonder

Guy Kawasaki:

  • The core of innovation is to make meaning
  • Make a mantra, not a mission statement. A mantra is two or three words which explain why you should exist
  • Most organizations define themselves in what they currently do. They do not embrace the next curve
  • Great products churn. You have to take version 1.0 and make it 2.0
  • If you listen to people who will tell you you will fail and then not try, that is the worst outcome of all

Neil Blumenthal:

  • Rethink your brand in terms of the need you are meeting
  • People won’t come if you build it. They have to be told
  • By treating people as valued person’s rather than needy beneficiaries we serve people with greater dignity
  • Innovation often comes out of constraint
  • Innovation always requires a deep examination of a problem

John Maxwell:

  • Jesus loves everybody, not just the choir
  • For you to live a significant life you would have to become intentional
  • Success is about us. Significance is about others
  • Once you’ve tasted significance, success will never satisfy you
  • Most people don’t lead their life. They accept their life
  • You’re either going to read your story or write your story
  • We’ve corrected people so much Jesus couldn’t join the church (Yep!)


These are just snippets of our time there. It was a refreshing time to get away for a couple of days (kid free) and to fall more in love with a God who is crazy about us. The theme, Awaken the Wonder, was so appropriate for all four of us, because we are were feeling like dry bones in need of refreshing (Ezekiel 37).  God met us there, and started singing His love over each of us!




We have to do something

I have become sick to my stomach watching all of these horrible events going on in the world around us. Seriously, I am actually in tears as I write this. When will we as Christians wake up? When will I wake up? We can not continue to sit in our perfectly knit lives, and ignore all of this sadness and evil going on around us. We have to do something!!! Anything!!

In Matthew 25, Jesus says this:

31-33 “When he finally arrives, blazing in beauty and all his angels with him, the Son of Man will take his place on his glorious throne. Then all the nations will be arranged before him and he will sort the people out, much as a shepherd sorts out sheep and goats, putting sheep to his right and goats to his left.

34-36 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what’s coming to you in this kingdom. It’s been ready for you since the world’s foundation. And here’s why:

I was hungry and you fed me,
I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,
I was homeless and you gave me a room,
I was shivering and you gave me clothes,
I was sick and you stopped to visit,
I was in prison and you came to me.’

37-40 “Then those ‘sheep’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?’ Then the King will say, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.’

41-43 “Then he will turn to the ‘goats,’ the ones on his left, and say, ‘Get out, worthless goats! You’re good for nothing but the fires of hell. And why? Because—

I was hungry and you gave me no meal,
I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,
I was homeless and you gave me no bed,
I was shivering and you gave me no clothes,
Sick and in prison, and you never visited.’

44 “Then those ‘goats’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or homeless or shivering or sick or in prison and didn’t help?’

45 “He will answer them, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you failed to do one of these things to someone who was being overlooked or ignored, that was me—you failed to do it to me.’

46 “Then those ‘goats’ will be herded to their eternal doom, but the ‘sheep’ to their eternal reward.”

Our time is now! Our time to rise up and give of ourselves, give of our resources, give of our time. To love the forgotten, and forsaken, and the outcast. To shine Jesus’ light wherever we go.

So with all that said, I would love to highlight an organization each month that has a mission of spreading hope and love to some of the darkest places. This month I want to highlight World Vision because of their work in Syria. I’m sure you have probably seen the photo of the little boy that had drowned off the coast of Greece. His name was Aylan Kurdi, and he is just one of 11 million Syrians displaced by violence, and one of 220,000 people killed in the civil war (Relevant magazine).

We have to do something! Christ commands it! There is a biblical mandate! Please join with me and Chris in giving to this worthy cause, and praying for all of these people involved!

Not your typical pro-life argument

This letter is to all the girls out there that have felt like abortion was the only option…

To you, precious one,

Know that my point is not to judge you. My point is to love you.

I may not be able to see what led you to this decision. Maybe you were raped, or maybe you were young and naive. Maybe you had your whole life in front of you and having a baby would have derailed your plans. Or maybe it was mere convenience.

Many people may know about it, or maybe you’re the only one in the world (besides medical professionals) who knows what happened. It may have happened yesterday, or may have been years ago. Maybe you cry yourself to sleep every night. Maybe you only think about that decision every once in a while.  Regardless, please know that you are loved by the God of the Universe. He knows every decision, whether right or wrong, you’ve made. He’s seen all the tears you’ve cried and holds them all in His hands. He wants you to know that You are worth it! That you are beautiful! That you are special! He wants you to know that you are not alone; that He is right here with you! And that you are forgiven if you just ask Him!

Please don’t get discouraged when you see people holding pro life signs that say something like “you are going to hell.” They do not know the impact a sign like that can have on a person that has experienced abortion before. It is in the past. God can forgive you, and put you on a new path. A path you could never dream of! He wants to bring restoration in your life!

John chapter 8 paints a vivid picture of this restoration. Some of the religious officials and leaders brought a lady to Jesus. She had just been caught in the act of adultery. They placed her in the center while they all surrounded her. She may have even been naked. Scripture doesn’t say if she was or wasn’t, but by being caught in the act, it doesn’t leave a lot of room to put clothes on. (That is my take on it.) While they surrounded her, they asked Jesus what He was going to do with the lady. The laws were to stone such a person, but they wanted to know what Jesus said. Jesus finally answered them by saying “he who is without sin among you, let he throw the first stone at her.” I can just picture it. One by one, people dropped their stones to the ground and left. And when no one was left, Jesus looked at the woman (probably shaking and sobbing) and He asked her “woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” No one, Lord,” she answered. “Neither do I condemn you,” said Jesus. “Go, and from now on do not sin anymore.”

My place here is not to judge you. I could have easily been in the same boat as you if my circumstances were slightly different. I was a good girl. Always making good grades, had a promising future ahead of me. Always going to church. However,I found myself in a sexual relationship at fifteen years old! If I would have gotten pregnant I don’t know what I would have done. At fifteen, you’re still so young and innocent. I was just reeling from my parents divorce. Would I have shared that I was pregnant in the midst of all of the chaos around me? I hope I would, but only God knows.  I also know what it’s like to cry yourself to sleep because an older man had taken advantage of you. That he put his hands in places you did not ask for. I understand the grief that causes. So if either of those situations sound familiar to you, I know your pain.

However, it’s not a secret. If you know me, then you know my stance on abortion. I’ve said from the very beginning, this is not a political issue, but a moral issue. This is not about which side of the fence politically you are on, this is about the value we place on human life. That taking another human life is sin (regardless how young or old).

But please hear me when I say that Jesus can wash this as far as the east is from the west. If he can forgive me of my past (one of the worst sinners), then He can certainly forgive you! You can be a new creation. Just ask Him to take your life, and make something beautiful with it. And watch…because He will!

With much love,

Erica Faith

Home is where the heart is

Yesterday marks a year of closing on our previous home. There are lots of memories with that home, so appease me as I go down memory lane for just a bit.

Five years ago we bought this home. We had just ended fasting about what God wanted for us. We lived in Rock Hill, and knew that to truly be part of the community in Chester that we were ministering with, we needed to be closer. So we put our home on the market (this being when the market was beginning to crash). Thinking it would take a bit, we braced ourselves for a long wait to move. However, the next day of putting it on the market, we get a call that someone wants to tour the home, and may put an offer in. And sure enough, that is what happened!! What?! We knew that God had a plan for sure at this point! So we almost started panic searching in Chester for a home. When we toured this home, we knew that this was it. We could see our family growing up here. It had a sweet feel to it. From the big tree in the front, to the large kitchen/dining room, it was the home for us. We put an offer in ($25,000 less than listing price) thinking we would have room to negotiate back and forth. Our agent didn’t want to go in that low, because she said that person would never take it, but the next day we got the news that she accepted our offer. Apparently, she connected with our story of moving away from Rock Hill to be a part of the change happening in Chester. Praise Jesus!!!

But after five years (for a couple of different reasons–but mainly financially) we decided to move on to something else. So we put our home on the market (yet again) and watched God provide for us again. Within a week of being on the market we had an offer at LISTING PRICE, and we took it! Homes around us had been for sale for almost a year. Wow, this is God!!!! So we packed up our life, and moved in with some overly gracious friends (shout out to Jeff and Leighann Lucas). This was when I was a couple of days shy of being full term with Hudson!!! Yes, that is crazy, I know. However, we did not think our home would sell this fast. But I’m learning never underestimate God!

So here are a few pictures I snapped as we closed on this home a year ago.

These were the shutters I painted, because the ugly hunter green was not my style.



This was our bedroom. So much love happened here, and the light was a cute addition to the room (thanks Ikea).


imageThis room is where I told Chris that I was pregnant for the first time. We hugged and cried happy tears right here in this spot.


imageThis room once served as our workout room, but then was going to be a nursery. After  my daughter passed away, I kept this room closed for a while. With little girl outfits, and pink memorabilia, this room served as a reminder of something I didn’t have. But God, again, blessed me with a baby. This time with a boy. Painting these walls these colors was a release from what this room used to mean. And when we were finally able to bring Hollis home, his crib was right there. Some of his first steps were here.



This was our guest bedroom. It was the room on the opposite side of the house from our bedroom. We took turns at night staying up with Hollis and rocking him to sleep (darn Colic)!


imageThis was our kitchen which we painted and put all new appliances in. It was a room that held our friends and family when we would get together. Our Christmas decorations went along that mantle.

imageThis tree held our hammock which served as a nice retreat from life at times. A lot of time talking with God, was spent right here.


imageThis area was going to be a memory garden for Elliana. However, we never financially got around to it. This ground was sacred to me.


imageWe planted this butterfly bush to bring new life to the place.


imageI babied this hydrangea bush. Thought it was dead several times, but it always surprised me. This plant, I’m most proud of.




So, as we have settled down here in our new home, just know that you have a special place in my heart. You provided lots of memories for us. And Chris and I are thankful for you.

Here’s hoping another lifetime of memories happen in our new one…


Weeping in the shower

God showed me a piece of His heart yesterday. It was just a small piece, but it broke my heart. I have to admit that it is easier for me to just think of God as God, and not someone who has emotions like us. It is easier for me to not think about God’s heart being broken, much less by…me.

It all started yesterday with a simple prayer, “Lord, show me your heart.” Nothing more than that. Just a simple one liner. That was that, and I went on with my day.

Fast forward to the afternoon. Chris had brought the kids back home from daycare, and we were waiting on a special visitor to come (Mrs. Juanita, the kids old babysitter). When she arrived, the kids had a great time playing and goofing off with her. And, most definitely, there were a lot of hugs and kisses going on. When it was time to say goodbye, Hollis lost it. Right now, he is in the “I’m going to pitch a huge fit and lay down in the floor and scream and cry until someone gives me what I want or until I get tired of crying” stage of toddlerhood. {Side note, this kid is so strong willed, that this lady (me) who wants a huge family like the Duggars (not exactly that big, but close) sometimes doesn’t want to even think about more kids.} {Gasp}

Back to Hollis losing it. It felt like WWIII was about to happen. So I picked him up, took him to his room and tried to pick up his favorite toys and play with him. Did not work. So then I tried to rock him for several minutes. Did not work. So, at that point, I was at my wits end. I laid him in bed, hoping maybe he would take a nap and would be fine after that. Nope… it made it ten times worse. So after five minutes of him screaming in his bed, I went in his room and picked him up. I finally got him calmed down, and then he went back to the living room and looked out the window and realized her car wasn’t there anymore, and he lost it again. And then… I lost it. Tears didn’t just drip, they poured. Yes, I was crying because parenthood is so incredibly difficult (especially with a strong willed toddler), but also from the lies satan began whispering in my ears.

The lie went something like this: “You see, he doesn’t love you. He has always loved her more than you. When you worked at your previous job, you saw your kids maybe an hour a day, and she saw them over eight hours. She is way more of a better mom to these kids than you are. He would much rather spend time with her than you…” And it kept on and on.

By the time Chris got home, I was so upset. Tears were still streaming down my face at that point. And all I wanted to do was take my anger out on him. “I’m taking a shower,” I firmly said, leaving him with the kids to watch. While in the shower, I took a deep breath, and tried to pray to God about what was going on. And before I could even start grumbling over my situation to the Father, He quickly proceeded to speak to me, “I have allowed you to feel just a glimpse of what I feel on a daily basis.” He continued, “Don’t you think my heart hurts when my children, my creation, choose to reject me. Don’t you think my heart breaks when they choose other PEOPLE or THINGS over Me, their Father?”

And that’s when the tears became more of a waterfall than a stream. God had allowed me to experience just a glimpse of what it feels like to be rejected by someone that you have so much love for. Rejected (even for a moment) by someone that you would die for. And then it hit me… He had just answered my prayer from earlier. He had shown me just a portion of His massive heart. I had been shown the heart of the Father.

I challenge you to ask him to show His heart to you today. But be prepared for what that may mean…

Be blessed, friends.

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